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North West youngsters to showcase at Angling Fair ahead of World Fly Fishing Championships

27 March 2024

Four young fishermen from Tyrone and Donegal have the angling world at their feet after they successfully qualified to represent Ireland at the 2024 World Youth Fly Fishing Championships in the Czech Republic this summer.
Jacob Griffin, Fintan Carlin, Zack Barnett and Colm Coyle have honed their skills on the local waters of the Mourne, Derg and Finn and they successfully fought off competition for 25 young anglers from all over Ireland at the qualifiers in Blackwater River in County Meath and Laois Angling Centre to take four of the five places on the Irish team.
The talented youngsters will showcase their tying skills to thousands of people at Fly Tyers Row at the North West Angling Fair which returns to the Melvin Sports Complex on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th April.  
Their Trout Anglers Federation of Ireland Coach, Campbell Baird, said their qualification for the world stage is just reward for their dedication to their craft.
“The boys are a credit to the Ulster fishing community,” he said. “Their dedication, knowledge and determination has shone through in the qualifiers and they will now represent Ireland are at the highest level of their game.
“It shows that there is a direct pathway through fishing in the ranks of FROG (Foyle River –Catchment Outdoor Group CIC) that can take you to world level.”
FROG Coach Damien Devine added that the boy are true ambassadors for angling in the North West.
"The climb to the top of the tree in the angling journey of these youth angling representatives is something myself and Joseph Owens could never have imagined at the outset,” he said.
“These youngsters came along to us at a very tender age, some without even the basic equipment at that time.
“However in the early days of casting lessons, it was very noticeable that there was a hunger from them and a support network from their guardians, which was pointing towards greater heights.
“With many angling titles and success in the last few years, the world stage now awaits the new generation of Irish youth anglers.
“All our coaches at FROG CIC are so privileged to have played our part in steering these fine young men towards their dream of international representation.
“They are now true ambassadors of our group, as the next generation in our ranks are aspiring to reach the same heights as these young anglers in the years to come.
“All are a credit to us, their families, and the wider angling community of the North-West corner of the Foyle river-basin.”
The boys are also set to travel to England with the Irish Trout Fly Fishing Association in July as part of the Ireland Youth Team to compete in the Four Nations Competition 2024, who have already accomplished gold medals in the Four Nations in Wales 2023.
The banks of the Mourne River will come alive as some of the UK and Ireland’s top fly dressers, casters and angling specialists descend on the Angling Fair.

It will be hosted by Derry City and Strabane District Council, with support funding by the Loughs Agency, and is expected to draw in excess of 3,000 visitors to Strabane.

A comprehensive programme includes professional casting demonstrations and expert fly fishing tuition.

The public will also be able to source angling merchandise from a wide range of fishing tackle producers, fly tying brands and fishing outfitters in the Melvin’s Main Hall.

The Angling Fair takes place from 11am to 5pm on Saturday April 6th and 10am to 5pm on Sunday April 7th.

Casting demonstrations on the Mourne will be hosted by Scott Mackenzie, Andrew Toft, Tom Brown, Michael O’Kane, Robert Gillespie, Connor Arnold, Lucinda Ewin, Steve Peterson, Mark Patterson and Stevie Munn.

Specialist Talks over the weekend will include Scott Mac Kenzie sharing his experiences in Angling and the new Graphene infused Clothing Range and Wayne Magee from the ATA Lodge will discuss angling in the Alaskan Wilderness.

A wide range of fly tyers will also demonstrate their art and techniques and there will be a particular emphasis on the young fly tyers who will showcase their own skills and talents as well as hoping to inspire the next generation of anglers.

The trade stands in the Melvin’s Main Hall will feature a number of new exhibitors and retailers as well as some familiar favourites where people can source new equipment and experiences from the North West’s top providers.

Due to the large crowds expected accessible parking only will be available at the Melvin Sports Complex however nearby car parks will be open at Lower Main Street, Upper Main Street, the Canal Basin and Butcher Street.

You can access the full programme online at

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